The musical “The Light in the Piazza,” which premiered almost six years ago on Broadway, is one of the most celebrated musicals in recent history, having reaped numerous awards and glowing reviews from critics.
“The Light in the Piazza,” written by Adam Guettel, grandson of broadway icon Richard Rodgers of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame (“Oklahoma,” “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I” and “Sound of Music”), has some of the best written songs for the stage, including the love tune “Say It Somehow,” which, according to “Glee’s” Lea Michele, is “by far the most romantic Broadway song.”
This proves the appeal of the show to both the older and younger audiences. In fact, “Glee’s” Matthew Morrison was the first actor to play the role of Fabrizzio.
In the Manila staging, the production hired one of the top casting agencies in New York, Judy Henderson & Associates Casting, to find the ideal Fabrizzio. In the said auditions, 30 talented hunks tried out for the opportunity to play the plum role in Manila.
“'The Light in the Piazza' signals the return of grand musicals like West Side Story,” says producer Audie Gemora. “This will also showcase once more Karylle’s depth as an actress and performer, which everyone had seen in her portrayal of Maria in West Side Story two years ago.”
Along with Guettel's music, “The Light in the Piazza” has a book by Craig Lucas based on ElizaBeth Spencer's novella of the same title.
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Matthew Morrison and Aaron Lazar previously played the romantic lead in the Broadway production.
“Aaron Lazar and I have the same agent, Robert Atterman. And Aaron is someone I've always looked up to. It'd be great to be able to play the role of Fabrizio. I've never been to Manila. This is an incredible opportunity for me,” said Lukas.
Stages Productions had been auditioning actors in Manila for the role of Fabrizio since last year, but ended up auditioning in Manhattan with American casting agent Judy Henderson.
“Casting agents in Manila had offered very limited choices for leading men in local theater. So I opted to get a Broadway actor instead. Stephen has a beautiful tenor voice. He's a handsome and strong actor, too,” said Stages Productions president Audie Gemora.
Lukas' recent theater credits include the second national tour of “Little Women” (as Laurie), Ogunquit Playhouse's production of “Hello, Dolly!,” Summer Lyric Theater's “Oklahoma!” and Seacost Repertory Theater's “Grease” (Danny Zuko).
Stages Productions' “The Light in the Piazza” will open at Meralco Theater in Ortigas Center on July 8. Jaime del Mundo is director. Joey Mendoza is set designer.